Opinions, Column

Roncalli: A New Newton or a Strategic Getaway?

As we venture further through December, we not only find the holiday season (and finals) sneaking up on us but also witness the start of the dreaded housing selection process. Many BC freshmen plan months ahead of the March housing selection date and quake at the thought of living on College Road during their sophomore year. So, in the spirit of the holidays, I thought I would share the reasons why I have come to love Roncalli Hall. 

While walking through Mac earlier this semester, I heard a group of freshmen already planning their eight-man configurations (the conversation resembled a fantasy football draft rather than a logical assignment of roommates, but that is neither here nor there). To alleviate fears about this frustrating process, I thought I would share my experience in the sophomores’ infamous last choice for housing: Roncalli.

When I began the housing process, all my upperclassmen friends reassured me that no matter where I lived, I would have a great year—as long as I wasn’t placed on CoRo. Around 20 percent of the sophomore class lives in traditional-style dorms on CoRo, so the low probability of living there eased my fears. As eight-man struggles began, however, my group realized we had 10 people to account for. From here, we had two options: find a group of six other girls and “block” our eight-mans together with them, or have two of our suite members drop out of our group.

Because the first choice seemed ridiculously complicated, my best friend and I chose to subtract ourselves from the eight-man equation. As long as we ended up in 66 Commonwealth Ave., we were fine—we would go to our friends’ eight-man, then be able to return to our double and relax. But to our dismay, our pick time on doubles day was at 4:00 p.m.—late enough that 66 Commonwealth Ave. was completely filled and Roncalli was our only option.  

When I tell people I live in Roncalli, I see the same face I used to make when talking to students living on Newton Campus: a pitiful smile and concerned eyes. I now know how much Newton kids hated that face—after a while, it just gets annoying. To combat this pity, I would respond with a laundry list of reasons why Roncalli isn’t that bad. I would say things like, “I’m right next to classes” or “I’m so close to Mac,” but I really couldn’t come up with a substantial answer. 

Besides its proximity to Middle Campus, why should people like Roncalli? In reality, Roncalli is far from all of my friends, has made me lazier (I can just show up to class a minute before it starts), and the food at Mac is no better than the food at Lower. So, why do I actually like Roncalli? 

Roncalli is my getaway. Whenever I just need peace and quiet, I walk back to my room and lay down in my bed without worries. I don’t have to deal with loud noises from my common room, and I don’t always have to be social with my seven other roommates. Rather than let a large housing group or a party-filled dorm decide when I have to be social, I’m now in control of this aspect of my life. I can decide when I want to leave my bubble and who I bring back to it.

Roncalli is Boston College’s best-kept hideout. In an environment like BC, where students have club meeting after club meeting along with endless amounts of homework, college can feel overwhelming. But, at my Roncalli refuge, I feel relaxed—almost like time stops when I enter my little double. 

Last year, I never stopped moving to the next item on my to-do list. This year, however, I’ve learned that enjoying breaks and taking care of myself can actually be productive. To succeed at BC, we have to be on our best game—but that is impossible if we do not take the time to recharge. Once we take this necessary step toward self-improvement, all the other aspects of our crazy lives will begin to seem manageable. Roncalli is my place for this. 

Without Roncalli, I would be heavily burnt out. So, to the freshmen looking into housing for next year, do not overlook this quaint escape from the chaos of BC. 

December 5, 2022